Walter Matthau plays a professional killer going by the name of Trabucco, who is on his way to rub out gangster Rudy "Disco" Gambola, set to testify against the mob. As Trabucco heads off ... See full summary »
Dino, the charming and lecherous Las Vegas singer, stops for gas on his way to Hollywood in Climax, Nevada. The oily gas station attendant is Barney Millsap, a would-be lyricist who writes pop songs with Orville Spooner, the local piano teacher. By disabling Dino's car, Barney contrives a scheme to have Dino sing one of their songs on an upcoming TV special. To entertain Dino, Barney contacts the village tart, Polly, employing her to pretend to be Orville's wife, Zelda, for a night. She doesn't like Dino, but does love being Orville's surrogate wife. Dino goes to a bar, where he meets the real Zelda, and they spend the night together while Polly spends it with Orville. Written by
With-it sex satire, stunted by '60s morals and a miscast co-star...
Billy Wilder's failed satire of sex comedies involves famous crooner and ladies' man Dean Martin stranded in a small town on the Nevada border, befriended by hack songwriter Ray Walston who hopes to sell Dino his novelty songs. To sweeten the pot, Walston gets curvy waitress/prostitute Kim Novak to pose as his wife and seduce the star. Controversial when first released (and condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency!), the film isn't quite as risqué today, playing like an extended episode of TV's "Three's Company". However, it does push some effective buttons and has edgy moments of comedy (it may be an oldster's idea of hip, but it's pretty close to the real thing and not a poser). Martin, Novak, and Felicia Farr are all engaging, and director Wilder sets up the running gags with his customary aplomb, yet not much can be done with Ray Walston, an eleventh-hour replacement for Peter Sellers and a complete mismatch for this ribs-nudging material. Hurt overall by a claustrophobic production and the dingy design, disappointing cinematography and balky early pacing, which is far too staid. **1/2 from ****
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